More than 700 pigs have died in Uganda following an outbreak of African swine fever in Otuke District.

The affected areas include Barocok Parish in Barjobi Sub-county and several villages in Olilim and Ogwete sub-counties.

The chairperson of Okwang Sub-county, Mr Daniel Ojok Aruca, said the first case of swine fever was reported in the neigbouring Puranga Sub-county, Pader District, at the beginning of the year.   The disease then spread to the neighbouring communities.

Mr Ojok said annually, farmers in Otuke often lose a number of pigs to the disease during the dry spell.

Mr Francis Otyama, the Olilim chairperson, named the most affected areas in his sub-county as Got Ojwang, Anepkide, Alula and Olilim Trading Centre.

The area veterinary officer, Mr Lameck Ouni, said the affected animals range between 700 and 1,200.

Dr Milton Omara, a veterinary doctor in Ogwete Sub-county, on Sunday said the presence of African swine fever was confirmed after several tests were carried out.

According to the veterinary doctor, the disease has no vaccine or treatment.

“Therefore, the only way to control the virus from spreading is by gazetting the healthy animals in one place, cleaning and disinfecting their shelter,” he said.

However, local leaders said many households are eating the dead pigs even though veterinary doctors are advising the community to bury or burn the carcasses.

Dr Omara warned the community against consuming disease-affected animals, saying they are dangerous to human health.

The district veterinary officer, Mr Thomas Anyuru, told Daily Monitor on the phone yesterday that the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries assured them that the vaccine would be delivered next week.

About disease
African swine fever is a serious viral disease of domestic pigs and Eurasian wild boars that poses a major threat to pig production. For more than thirty years after its discovery in East Africa, it was limited to eastern and southern Africa, where it is believed to have originated.

The ability of the causative virus to remain viable for long periods in raw or insufficiently cooked pork products has enabled it, through travel and trade, to spread widely throughout sub-Saharan Africa and to other continents.

In the second half of the 20th century, it had caused outbreaks in the majority of African countries as well as in a number of European countries, two Caribbean islands, and Brazil.

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